OTTAWA — Andrei Svechnikov scored the shootout winner but Carolina head coach Rod Brind'Amour said the star of the Hurricanes' 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night was goaltender Frederik Andersen.
Andersen made 37 saves in the contest, allowing Carolina to rally for the win.
"He was the difference in the game,” Brind'Amour said. "He came up huge a lot and just allowed us to hang in there and finally get the tie and get a chance to win."
Ottawa's Brady Tkachuk had a breakaway in overtime and the Senators had a 49-second power play after Tim Stutzle drew a hooking penalty but came up short both times.
“We had every chance,” said Senators head coach D.J. Smith. “Against a team like this you want to win.
"I thought we played hard.”
The Hurricanes trailed in the third and were able to force overtime after Nino Niederreiter scored with just over three minutes remaining.
The Senators were forced to play without centre Josh Norris for most of the game. He left in the first after going hard into the boards and was unable to return.
Smith said the Senators will have an update Friday and remain hopeful it’s nothing serious.
Ottawa was already without leading scorer Drake Batherson and Dylan Gambrell, who were both injured Tuesday.
“I thought we played hard you know,” said Nick Paul, who scored Ottawa’s first goal. “It's not easy losing (Batherson) and (Norris) (Thursday) and Gambrell so, there’s spots to be taken and there’s opportunity and guys stepped up.
“We played a hard game, we got a point. We'd love to close that out and that's when we start becoming a winning team is we find ways to just win games like that and not take it to OT. So, you know, overall, I thought we had a hard good effort, but we want to win that one.”
Derek Stepan scored in regulation for Carolina (29-9-2).
Alex Formenton also scored for the Senators (13-20-4). Matt Murray made 27 saves.
The Senators continue to play without fans, something the Hurricanes are not used to.
"You don’t want to make excuses, but it’s tough playing a game here," said Brind’Amour. "It feels like it’s practice, the environment, especially when we’re just now getting used to the electricity being back in the building.
"It’s the same for both teams, but it was obvious that was a big factor in the game.”
Murray, who continues to look solid for the Senators, was also a factor. Ottawa was outshot 15-7 in the first and if not for Murray would have trailed early on.
“He's been awesome,” said Paul. “He's been making great saves for us.
"You know, he has been the backbone right now. Tie game, big chances, sliding across making huge saves just putting the wind in our sails, so he's been playing awesome, and you know, it's huge for our team.”
With the game tied 1-1 Formenton scored the go-ahead goal for the Senators early in the third. He tipped a Victor Mete shot in for his ninth of the season.
Formenton now has 11 points in his last 10 games (four goals, seven assists).
The Hurricanes opened the scoring two minutes into the second as Stepan tipped a shot in front to beat Murray. But two minutes later the Senators tied the game.
Paul put what looked like a harmless shot on goal, but it hit Tony D’Angelo on the way and fooled Andersen.
Notes: The Senators announced Batherson will likely miss a couple months, if not more after suffering a high ankle sprain Tuesday against Buffalo . . . Ottawa signed defenceman Nick Holden to a one-year $1.3-million contract extension Thursday. He could have been an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2022.
Lisa Wallace, The Canadian Press